For those at-risk for opioid overdose, Ohio’s House Bill 4 offers hope.
HB 4 aims to allow police officers and family members to furnish or dispense
of naloxone, a drug designed to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose.
It’s no secret that Ohio is in the midst of a drug epidemic. As far
back as 2007, unintentional drug overdose surpassed car accidents as the
leading cause of injury-related death. The Ohio Department of Health reports
that nearly 2,000 Ohioans die every year from opiate overdose –
prescription drugs and
heroin are the primary culprits.
With drug overdoses increasing by almost 370 percent over the last decade,
officials have had to get creative with finding a solution. The problem
has evolved, and the tactics have to evolve with it. Enter naloxone.
What is naloxone?
Naloxone is an opiate reversal drug often administered to individuals who
overdose on drugs like heroin. Naloxone can reverse the effects of an
overdose making it a potentially life-saving prescription drug. The problem
is, it’s difficult to access. Currently, anyone who prescribes naloxone
must be present when the drug is distributed. House Bill 4 would remove
this requirement, allowing people like police officers and families of
at-risk individuals to not only obtain but dispense of naloxone.
“House Bill 4 is just one piece of the overall approach to address
the opioid epidemic in the State of Ohio,” said Representative Sprague.
“By allowing physicians to issue protocols for the furnishing of
naloxone, this bill will increase access to this life-saving drug throughout
For a free legal consultation, call 614-675-4845
Why is HB 4 so important for Ohioans?
Not only is drug overdose an epidemic, the face of drug use has changed
drastically. Drug addiction isn’t secluded to a small, niche, easily-identifiable
group anymore. Drug use in Ohio has permeated not only urban, but suburban
areas. It’s a problem in both white and black communities, male and
female, young and old. The Ohio Department of Health has identified seven
major contributing factors to what they call the “heroin shift” –
- More and more people are becoming addicted to opioids, which often starts
with prescription drug overuse
- Less prescription opioid pills than there have been in previous years
- More scrutiny of prescription drugs
- Prescription drug formulas that are more tamper-resistant and longer lasting
- An increase in heroin supply
- A decrease in the cost of heroin
- Heroin is being manufactured at a greater purity and potency than ever before
Mothers are losing sons. Husbands are losing wives. More must be done to
curb the devastating effects of our heroin-saturated state. Ohio needs
House Bill 4 to make naloxone more readily available. Drug addiction is
a reality, admitting that and accepting every viable avenue to combat
it is essential.
These chemical treatment options need to be on our streets, in police cruisers,
with medics, and in the homes of struggling addicts and their loved ones.
HB 4 legalizes medical intervention and dispensing naloxone auto injectors
by non-medical persons. To learn more, you can
read the bill here.